Prior to adopting a plant-based diet over 9 years ago, my mother’s immune system was incapacitated due to the long-term ingestion of dairy products. After turning plantarian, it took some time before her body’s defense mechanisms became rejuvenated and strengthened. During that time, I would send her bags of chaparral leaf to use when she felt that she was becoming ill. The herb worked so effectively that she ended up putting her sister on it along with some of her colleagues.
Chaparral is a plant that I highly respect. It has been traditionally used by Native Americans—mainly in the south-western parts of North America—for more than 100 years, for a plethora of complaints, including tuberculosis, bronchitis, influenza, urinary tract infections, STD’s, a variety of skin conditions, as well as arthritis and other rheumatic diseases (chaparral exhibits strong anti-inflammatory properties). This herb has also been used as a mouthwash, and has played an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Its most noteworthy attribute, however, is its ability to regress certain cancerous tumors. After being widely used as an anti-cancer agent, the herb sparked an interest in the medical community.
Chaparral is extremely bitter, which, to me, is Mother Nature’s way of communicating to us (and animals) that it is a very potent and powerful medicine that shouldn’t be used continuously for long periods of time.